Santa Drinks Fanta - Teach The Controversy!
A while back, someone asked me why 'Santa' as an imaginary friend was OK, but the various religious invisible super-friends weren't. Obviously, it's bound up with how human children learn to differentiate virtual models from real models, so in mental modelling terms, you'd expect kids (especially those with active imaginations) to conjure up imaginary friends until such time as they become good at segregating the real from the not-real. Self-awareness in humans doesn't usually surface until about 2 years old, and it can take another five years, or even more, to become proficient at partitioning real models from internally-generated ones. That's why kids generally stop believing in Santa all on their own by seven or eight:- the concept can no longer be shoehorned into their rapidly expanding understanding of the world in a way that makes any sense.
If you were intent on f*cking up their little lives though, you could continue to try and reinforce Santa's existence in their minds, and you'd probably succeed, because your kids are programmed to believe you, and try to copy you. To abuse that trust would be a despicable thing to do, of course. so it begs the question of why the religious do exactly that to their own kids. The meme attached to this post tries to explain one very clear consequence of this appalling behaviour:- teaching your kids that morality is something that can only be enforced from outside makes them lesser people; real functional human beings understand that morality comes from within, and is a higher-level expression of a basic human need; the need for the companionship of others. Kids are way too young to understand that principle absolutely, but Santa can give them a headstart by teaching them a simpler lesson; that they can be good even if nobody is watching, and that being good doesn't necessarily bring an instant reward.
That's why 'Santa' is OK, but your gods, your devils, your jesuses and odins aren't.
Try and imagine what your children's lives will be like if you continue to try and force them to believe Santa is real way past the age where their minds have developed enough to naturally reject the myth. Try to imagine how they will feel at work, attempting to defend their position against other adult colleagues, or in grown-up social situations. Try to imagine the harm you could do to their minds by insisting Santa exists, beyond the age of seven or eight. Now re-read this paragraph, but substitute 'god' for 'Santa'.Santa Drinks Fanta! Teach the controversy! Click To Tweet